ON your marks, get set..!
Sheffield’s Great Yorkshire Run is gearing up to return for its sixth year – and runners are being urged to sign up for the race and take on the 10km challenge.
The event is set to attract thousands of athletes, fundraisers and enthusiastic amateurs to the city centre in September for the running world’s equivalent of the War of the Roses.
Each year, participants pledge their allegiance to Yorkshire or Lancashire, with the rival counties going head-to-head in a battle of running times.
Last year, Ashes to Ashes actor Dean Andrews accepted the winner’s trophy on behalf of the Yorkshire runners, after they finished an average of six seconds faster than Lancashire.
The Lancastrian runners were captained by former Coronation Street star Vicky Binns – who is hoping to claim the coveted trophy in 2012.
The route starts at Arundel Gate in the city centre and continues on to Penistone Road, up to Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium.
Runners then head back to Arundel Gate, accompanied along the way by live music from local ‘Bands on the Run’, who will be stationed along the course to keep up the racers’ motivation.
Youngsters aren’t left out of the sporting fun – as well as the main race on Sunday, September 2, there is a junior 1.5km run for children aged three to eight, and the 2.5km Mini Great Yorkshire for nine to 14-year-olds.
A weekend of fun activities is also planned in the city centre to coincide with the race – an event called Fuel Up will take place in Leopold Square offering family entertainment, and live bands will be playing in the Peace Gardens when the run finishes.
Last year a European Continental Market came to Sheffield for the weekend, with numerous stalls selling a range of food and gifts from around Europe.
The Great Yorkshire Run – which is supported by health insurance firm Bupa – is organised by former middle distance runner John Mayock, from Barnsley, who competed in the Olympics three times.
John, who won the 1,500 metres silver medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, said he was ‘very excited’ about staging this year’s race just three weeks after the London Olympics finish.
“Hopefully, lots of people will catch the running bug and take part,” he added.
n Entries for 2012 are now open at www.greatrun.org/yorkshire. The entry fee is £27, including a T-shirt, medal and finisher’s pack, while the children’s races cost £9 to enter.